Caring - Hardest Game In The World

Discussion in 'Taylor's Tittle-Tattle - General Banter' started by Clive_ofthe_Kremlin, Apr 17, 2020.

  1. Clive_ofthe_Kremlin

    Clive_ofthe_Kremlin Squad Player

    And I've been doing it 18 months, man and boy.

    I thought I'd start this thread to document experiences and perhaps it will be of interest to somebody. I will need to be careful of privacy and identity of course and so will use false names.

    I want to start off with a tribute to my great friend "rude grandad". A terrific fella. Passed away from colon cancer aged 94 this week. On a bed in his front room, nice and comfortable with his wife by his side.

    He was a big stout white bearded man who was born in the Indian Raj and went to school there. I think he was 'something' in the Indian army, but he never talked much about that part of his life. He talked more about his time playing clarinet in a jazz band and I saw his old newspaper clippings from the local papers where they'd played. That's also where he met his jazz chic wife, who is the same one who saw him off. He was 8 years older than her.

    Anyway, the reason he didn't talk much about his past was that he was too busy being rude. Properly rude. He knew he could get away with it, because he had 'dementia'. I sometimes wonder how much dementia and how much badness. Example: pensioners singing circle in the Methodist hall. Christian lady with glasses and a guitar trying to pretend not to notice that every chorus of 'she'll be coming round the mountain when she comes' was interspersed with rude grandad yelling UP YER BUM! at top volume from his wheelchair. Then at the end, his wife would get his case of harmonicas out (8 different ones) and he'd play something like Stranger on the Shore beautifully and with a feeling.

    All through the visits (up, toilet,shower, d dry, cream, teeth, down into armchair - 45 mins) we spent joking and laughing and singing. He'd always pretend to put his shirt on back to front and when we go downstairs, me with the bag of rubbish, he'd say "I'm going to jump!" and I'd say "go on then" and so the weeeee pop thing, where you flick the bag with your fingers. Well it was funny for us.

    Top, top man. He lived a full and happy life. I shall miss him greatly.
     
  2. Clive_ofthe_Kremlin

    Clive_ofthe_Kremlin Squad Player

    More rude examples of rude grandad. I got him a lot because some of the female carers didn't like too much rudeness.

    One of his favourite greetings, especially to those he hadn't met previously, was "show us yerrrr nipples!" which caused consternation on many a rude occasion. His wife was always trying to do her best to restrain his rudeness, but to little effect. Our joke we had was that he would say it and I would pretend to look shocked and say "what all three of them?" and then we'd start laughing.

    Example 2. While in hospital and in pain from cancer, the great consultant chief in his white coat and clipboard came round with a gaggle of students, a la carry on film. "How are you mister...err...Grandad?".

    "Have you got a bigdick?" roared my mate in reply.
     
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  3. Clive_ofthe_Kremlin

    Clive_ofthe_Kremlin Squad Player

    Only two calls this morning. My regular pattern on my weekend working. Both quite pleasant, first out to a lovely granny in one of the villages. She's always already up and about and it's just a case of making the bed, emptying the pot, opening the curtains, getting her meds down her, riding the stairlift up to the top of the stairs (best part of the visit - especially when it gets a bit of a spurt on going round the bend), creaming her legs, bringing her breakfast and a cuppa, washing up afterwards, getting bread and milk out of the freezer, check the washer and drier for anything needs moving on in the laundry cycle and that's yer 30 mins. Lovely old bird she is. Bit of dementia so tells the same story over and over, but it's interesting. She was one of 15 siblings evacuated out of the east end in the war and abandoned by their father. She got married to her Bill, gone some years back but has his photo on the mantle piece with flat cap and roll up, and stayed in this area. This is a council call rather than a private one, so I have great sympathy for this lady.

    After that, it's our only (currently) double handed job as electric hoist involved. Ex-RAF man with MS and Parkinson's. Nice intellectual fella you can have a good chat with and a laugh. Also is the only chance to see other carers as normally you're on your own. I got him up, showered him, dressed him, hoisted him into his electric wheelchair, shaved him (taking up the sideburns as requested, gave him breakfast and a cup of Kremlin British Rail inspired proper tea, got his meds down him, brushed his hair, put the morning news on TV and that's about it. I'll be back tonight for 30 mins to put him to bed, but single handed this time. His sparrow of an elderly stone deaf wife is theoretically my 'second man'. Well, we've been doing the mornings single handed recently because there are no staff. Lovely bloke but unfortunately incontinent and without control down below, although I have to say it does seem to be particularly inspired by my hoisting him. There have been many many accidents over the visits and he gets very embarrassed, but what? It's hardly his fault is it?


    I start again at 6pm and go through to 10. Last call both sat and sun is half an hour to put Mr Brown (whose love of laxitives and slippered hi-steppin' through the results is detailed on another thread) to bed. No chance of doing it in 30 mins. None at all. Especially the state he's in at the moment. He'd already be in a home if it weren't for the crisis. He can barely shuffle on his frame and he's invariably in a stinky brown and yellow pickle when you arrive. He keeps pressing his alarm and getting the paramedics round by telling them he's got a fever or he's fallen or nobody has been to see him for a week etc. When they get there all fully ppe PPE clad to the earrings, he tells them it's because his slipper fell off or that he wants his curtains closed. After yet another call out last night to nothing at all, alarm has now been taken off him. Ambulance staff very cross with carer who arrived in the middle of it (waste of PPE, long journey etc etc). I don't know what they think it has to do with the carers, but I can understand their anger. There have been 17 alarm presses over the past 2 weeks. The alarm has now been confiscated. God alone knows what I'm going to find when I let myself in there tonight. The chances of me finishing anywhere near 10 though are slim to none. Even in the best of times, he sits alone in the dark with no TV or radio on. When you come in, of course the first thing is to say hello and how are you? He always says "terrible". When you ask why, he says one word in reply. "Lonely". We go in 4 times a day, but we're all he sees. Ex-business man who had his own company in the town. Has 4 sons, who have also done very well for themselves and are scattered around the country with their families. Obviously very very busy. What with work and everything. In the 18 months I've been looking after him, I've seen one of the sons about 3 times. Have never clapped eyes on the others. Very luxurious apartment though. Lots of expensive gifts and cards. He's even got Alexa's round the place controlling the lights and what have you, but he doesn't use any of them. Just sits in his chair in the dark. Awake. Well, they say in our training not to make judgements because you don't know the family history. Maybe he was a horrible parent. So I always bear that in mind.
     
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  4. Clive_ofthe_Kremlin

    Clive_ofthe_Kremlin Squad Player

    First call out tonight is one I really enjoy and not because there's hardly anything to do. 60s hippy chick who lives on her own. Husband died young I think in some sort of road accident. Very delicate subject with her and the whole subject of road transport is best avoided.

    Only real job in 30 mins is open the meds safe, sort out her cocktail of meds (which she crunches up and swills down really well - we like them more than the coughers and splutterers and the take the disintegrating pill out of your mouth and look at it ones). Pop everything back in the safe and spin the dials and then the rest of the visit is just sitting on her sofa watching quiz shows and chatting. She's pretty funny. Never fails to ask if she can't have a big fat spliff instead of her pills and tells me stories of skinny dipping in a river when a troop of boy scouts came past etc. She likes her male carers far more than the ladies. In normal times I get to take her out on 'socials' sometimes and we've toured the lunchtime pubs of the rural Cotswolds. I look 'em up in advance on trip advisor or whatever. She loves a glass of wine and a sandwich on the terrace and she definitely likes walking in on the Kremlin arm! In fact she has a great liking for the sauce and I believe that's a big part of her severe forgetfulness and tendency to self-neglect. A special skill when you take her shopping is to gradually offload the bottles of wine she's put in the trolley when she's not looking until there's only one left when you reach the till. She forgets she's put them in anyway, so it's not a problem. However the Friday night visit after she's necked her weekly allowance in front of 15 to 1 or whatever can be a bit of a fruity, boozy breathed sofa snuggle if you're not careful!

    She is also adamant that she does NOT need carers and we are foisted on her by her well-meaning but pain in the arse family. So we are there on sufference to start with. But her place is lacking in normal cleaning. She will not allow a cleaner in. She considers anyone cleaning anything in her house is an insult to her housekeeping skills and goes nuts.

    One of my favourite ways to get a bit of cleaning in is to arrive there all down and depressed. "What's wrong?" She says. "Oh I just got a message that I'm being inspected" I say. "Inspected?" she says. I then explain how 'they' are keeping an eye on me. But screw 'em. It says here I'm supposed to vacuum and dust, but I'll just tick off that I've done it. How will they know different. I'll sit down on the sofa with you for a chat.

    2 mins later. Pick up a bit off the carpet. "What's that?" She says. 'oh nothing. Just some fluff. Oh look there's another bit there, I'll just get that as well. You know what? I'm just about shittting it that the inspector is going to come round and have a look at this. I'll just whiz the hoover over that bit. Oh I've made a stripe now, I can't leave it like that, I'll have to do the rest. And since I've got my spray and cloth here anyway and I'm tall, why don't I just wipe those cobwebs off everywhere. I know they come so quick this time of year, but if the inspector sees any when he comes round I'm going to be in all sorts of trouble.

    And so on and so forth. I used to be able to get a good 10 mins in with constant chat about the dreaded care inspector who was forever on my back, before the protests got to such a crescendo you had to stop.

    Phew. Well hopefully that'll satisfy him. Yeah I know. Pointless. Absolutely. It was spotless anyway. But you know how it is. Bloody authorities. Got to tick the box haven't you?

    Now I'll just go and put my cloth and cillit bang away. I'm busting to go though. Do you mind if I use your loo on my way past?
     
  5. Moose

    Moose First Team Captain

    Rod Gilbert tries out care work in his latest ‘work experience’ episode.

    It’s a good watch, if a little contrived in places. We don’t get the old folks who bite, scream or play with their poo, but it’s warm hearted fun with some insight.

    Rhod Gilbert's Work Experience, Series 9: 1. Care Worker: www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000hqvk via @bbciplayer
     
  6. Best to time these updates for about 30 mins before meal time ;)
     
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  7. Clive_ofthe_Kremlin

    Clive_ofthe_Kremlin Squad Player

    Interesting that and quite funny in places, thanks for posting it. "All you can wipe bottom buffet" - that's a good 'un.

    Good that he tried the different types of caring and note he said the home carer thing was "exhausting" and so it is. Physically and mentally too. He soon felt how nice a job it is though and the satisfaction in helping people and making them happy and comfortable.

    Only one issue with it, when you put someone in a chair, their trouser legs ride up. So after they're in, you grab hold of the hems and haul them down so they're not in a big lump under their thigh and they haven't got loads of leg exposed. You do that while you're putting their shoes/slippers on. However when he brings Betty out of her room in her wheelchair, the hems of her trousers are up by her knees and there's about 10 inches of hairy granny leg exposed to the cold...
     
  8. Moose

    Moose First Team Captain

    Yep, wheelchairs are very difficult for clothes particularly getting coats on. And trousers? One reason why those sleeping bag type covers are so popular.

    It makes continuity of care very important. You can do things considerably quicker once you know how to move an individual compared to the first time you care for someone.
     
  9. Clive_ofthe_Kremlin

    Clive_ofthe_Kremlin Squad Player


    Yes - it takes about 3 or 4 visits to a client before you start getting in to the swing of how they like things. How they take their tea. How they like their bacon sandwich done. What problems they may possibly have. What sort of things they like talking about. So on and so forth. In the first visits it can be very, very hard to keep to time when you're opening all the kitchen cupboards trying to find the bloody fridge etc!
     
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  10. Clive_ofthe_Kremlin

    Clive_ofthe_Kremlin Squad Player

    Bit of a dodgy 2 hours visit today an ex-RAF squadron leader who used to be a navigator on Vulcan bombers. I'll call him Ted.

    His wife told me that 20 years ago, he organised a peace conference between 17 countries and got a load of treaties signed. I also know that he was invited to The Pentagon for the planning for the first gulf war. An important and distinguished man.

    Unfortunately he is ruined by FTD (frontotemporal dementia) and would be in a home if it weren't for the crisis. He also has dysphasia, which means his communication ability is very poor indeed. FTD is very different from gentle nutty Alzheimer's. They can get hallucinations and persecution complex with violence etc. It's much more like a mental illness. Like Alzheimer's, it's progressive but with FTD they seem to go more rapidly. Last autumn I took him for a day out at the RAF museum in Hendon, although he didn't like it as much as I'd hoped, he did (in the main) behave himself. I also took him out to various other walks and museums and cafes etc. His wife always reckoned he was much happier when I brought him back, even though he always insisted he didn't want to go at first.

    It was getting more difficult before the Lockdown already. He kept insisting on going home all the time and even if I could get him in a cafe, he wouldn't eat or drink anything and kept mumbling and insisting on going. To use the time up (really it is respite for his wife, who gets a little precious time for herself) I was having to drive tour of the countryside and pretending I'd got lost or taken a wrong turn.

    Now with lockdown, it's much worse. He long since forgot how to have a shave and I used to use one of the visits each wéek to take him to the Turkish barbers for a wet shave with the straight razor. Not now of course. So today's job was to wet shave him, get his teeth brushed and see if he's got any pants on (often doesn't). What a bloody palava.

    After about 20 mins of persuasion and jostling and sheepherding, I eventually manage to get him up the stairs (massive house by the way) but he marches straight past the bathroom and in to the bedroom. Another 10 mins coaxing him out of there and in to the bathroom. Another 5 to get him to sit down on the throne. He has a pad on, but it's soaking wet. However he won't let me near to change it. I can't see a new one around in any case. Never mind, press on.

    Get a towel round his neck and him lathered up without too much problem, but as soon as I start shaving him he starts 'bleating' - owwww! No! etc - so I have to keep up a constant chat and tell him he's going to look daft half shaved and I must finish it and so on. But as I work round him, he's getting more and more irate and stressed up. The beard is a week's worth and the razor pulls on it. Owwww! No! and more insistent now and even the occasional F word amongst the mumbling.

    You have to be careful with FTD clients about not crowding them in or getting in their face. They can lash out easily. As it was, he was starting to get really angry and making fists and aggressive body language and really shouting, so I gave up at about 3/4 done. He still has his tache and one side of his neck hairy.

    Now to try to change the pad. Fortunately I nip in the bedroom to get some socks (he has none on under his shoes) and find a clean pad. However he will not let me within 5 paces now and his fists are balled and really aggressive. I try weedling and pleading. No dice. Last resort, shouting. He can shout and I can shout and maybe being ex-military he'll respond. I tell him to pack it in and stop being so stupid that it was going to be changed regardless, because the PISS* would BURN his skin otherwise.

    * Thrown in for possible shock value - a carer swearing? Eek!

    Nothing doing. He stands up, fixes me with a glare and pulls the sopping wet pad up, followed by his trousers and starts doing up his belt. I just keep nagging on "why are you being like this? I'm here to help you. I'm going to be in terrible trouble for not doing my job etc etc. At least he lets me hand him a ready toothbrush and paste and brushes his teeth. Then off he goes downstairs with me trailing behind him waving the pad and bleating 'Ted! Ted!" pathetically.

    However, a Kremlin is not daunted and is known for his persistence. I keep on and in until eventually (right in front of the lounge window) I finally get him to drop his trousers and then the pad. I have to stand 5 paces off with my palms raised and can toss him over the clean pad. He hasn't quite got enough smarts left to put it on, so I have to creep in and pull it over his feet as quick as I can. No chance of giving his tackle a wash. He pulls them up and thank god that's done!

    With the rest of the time, I took him for a walk around the block to get some air and stretch his legs. He was a lot happier when we got back. But I was glad the 2 hours was up.

    This is the same bloke who passed me a watch in the cafe a few months ago, telling me to have it and he didn't want it. When I looked at it, it was a gold Rolex. Of course I returned it to his wife and reported it to the office.
     
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  11. Clive_ofthe_Kremlin

    Clive_ofthe_Kremlin Squad Player

    I have also reported today to the office. I reckon I was one razor stroke away from a smack in the gob today. At least I know him well and the shifting sands of his patience, but if another carer breezes in when I'm on holiday or something, there's a possibility of problems.

    I also suspect that he is getting threatening (if not actually rough) with his old dear of a wife too. She has sort of hinted at it a few times when we've been talking.
     
  12. Utmost respect to you Clive it’s a job I couldn’t do

    We had home visit carers for the MIL before her social worker decided she was better in a home, which she was, so I’ve seen what a tough gig it is
     
  13. Clive_ofthe_Kremlin

    Clive_ofthe_Kremlin Squad Player

    Join the Union! I told my comrade care workers over and over. Got embarrassed the number of times I said it to them. Handed out membership forms and leaflets.

    Ha ha ha they said. Freedom for Tooting! they chortled. They knew best. They barely glanced at the leaflets. The kind employer or government would look after them if there were any problems.

    Update:-

    Kind Employer so far has given: Warm words and a flashing 'thankyou' animated emoji sent by email

    Government has so far given: Warm words and the promise of a 'branding' lapel badge to wear with pride (yet to arrive)

    Union has so far given: £250,000 in 1000 £250 grants to care worker members experiencing hardship or extra costs etc. Access to thousands of free online courses and training. Advice and FAQs. Reports from other care workers around the country of their experiences.
     
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  14. Moose

    Moose First Team Captain

    Sadly this board is inhabited by the kind of dimwits who will tell you that the unions will sabotage the return to work.

    No evidence of the unions helping key workers to stay working ever seems to permeate their dense skulls.
     
  15. The unions will sabotage the return to work.
     
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  16. Moose

    Moose First Team Captain

    Good point, well made.
     
  17. Clive_ofthe_Kremlin

    Clive_ofthe_Kremlin Squad Player

    Three out of four care companies fear going bust according to a recent survey. Many private care homes have lost a good proportion of their residents recently and few coming in to fill them. PPE costs through the roof. Similarly with the home care. We're only doing the most essential calls now. All the socials and shopping trips etc have long since been cancelled.

    If a lot of them start going bust it'll only be a good thing I reckon. There'll be no option but to take them under government control - the seniors can't just be left to die. That'll be the first step to nationalisation and the formation of an NCS which is so obviously logical.
     
  18. Robert Peel

    Robert Peel Reservist

    Stupid question - do the unions apply at private care homes?

    My experience of unions in 14 years at TfL was the following:
    • It's about whether your face fits - if you're in the club, they'll take up your case, if not, forget it.
    • If you problem is with someone else in the union who is higher up, forget it
    • They'll agree to big changes behind closed doors but will dig their heels in over trivial changes that could actually make the place run more efficiently and fairly. The way that london underground unions dictate shifts, mainly based on who's been there the longest and has the most clout, is so wrong.
    On the flip side, my wife is a teacher and the union were great when her socially awkward, bullying boss was threatening disciplinary action relating to stuff that happened on a day my wife wasn't actually in work.
     
  19. Clive_ofthe_Kremlin

    Clive_ofthe_Kremlin Squad Player

    In the main, no Bob, unfortunately. Most carer workers have no union. There's no organisation hardly. The level of ignorance and indifference is shocking.

    One told me as a reason to oppose me fighting for sick pay that she "had never had sick pay in any of the jobs she'd had".
     
  20. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    For you Clive and the wonderful people that care for the vulnerable. Something that I find resonates strongly with me a quote from the Reverend William Channing an early Victorian.

    To be prosperous is not to be superior, and should form no barrier between men. Wealth ought not to secure the prosperous the slightest consideration. The only distinctions which should be recognized are those of the soul, of strong principle, of incorruptible integrity, of usefulness, of cultivated intellect, of fidelity in seeking the truth.
     
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  21. Clive_ofthe_Kremlin

    Clive_ofthe_Kremlin Squad Player


    Triple like. Even religious people get it right sometimes!
     
  22. Clive_ofthe_Kremlin

    Clive_ofthe_Kremlin Squad Player

    According to the news, next week care workers are to get tested to see if we've had the virus. They showed a doctor yelling "sharp scratch!" and jabbing a victim with a big needle and drawing out what looked like a quart of claret for testing.

    Obviously they can't make us do it. I'm wondering whether a test that will most probably show I haven't had it -yet- is of huge value. What if they want to make it a regular date and keep jabbing us every month to see if we've had it yet? Not sure I fancy that. I wonder whether they'll try to make it a condition of the work - if they do, watch this space for another possible dramatic Kremlin throw of the work apron.....
     
  23. Clive_ofthe_Kremlin

    Clive_ofthe_Kremlin Squad Player

    Carers Must Not.....


    Care Assistants must not enter Clients’ homes when ‘off duty’ or the Client is not at home without the permission of their manager
    ·
    · Care Assistants must not use clients debit or credit cards. Client has to withdraw money themselves.

    · Care Assistants must not be accessible to Clients when not ‘on duty’


    · Care Assistants must not involve their own family with Clients

    · Care Assistants must not make inappropriate disclosures about their own personal life

    · Care Assistants must not take their children or pets to the home of Clients when on duty

    · Care Assistants must not plan social meetings with Clients when not ‘on duty’

    · Care Assistants must not continue a friendship with the Client beyond the professional relationship

    · Care Assistants must not engage in any inappropriate physical contact with Clients

    · Care Assistants must not have sexual relationships with Clients (!)

    · Care Assistants must not work unofficially for Clients, whether paid or unpaid. (The slavery clause. If the client says I'll give you £10 to mow my lawn at the weekend, I can't do it).

    · Care Assistants must not drink alcohol, eat or smoke in Clients Homes when ‘on duty’ ("Sorry, no I'm not allowed to have a biscuit")

    · Care Assistants must not buy or sell goods to or from Clients

    · Care Assistants must not lend or borrow money or goods from Clients

    · Care Assistants must not accept for themselves free services from Clients, their relatives or carers where such services would normally be charged for

    · Care Assistants must not invite Clients to visit their home

    · Care Assistants must not allow Clients access to their personal telephone numbers or home addresses

    · Care Assistants must not receive gifts and/or bequests from Clients and/or their relatives or carers, except where policy allows or it can be shown that refusal of a gift of low value would be detrimental to the Client. The Home Care Worker must inform their Manager if such a gift is accepted and a record kept

    · Care Assistants must only administer medication if authorised as part of the Clients Care Plan

    · If Care Assistants are requested to accompany a Client on holiday, this must be approved by the Manager

    · Care Assistants must not witness or be a beneficiary from a Will of Clients or be named as Executors
     
  24. Hardly seems worth it, if you can't have a beer and/or sex with a patient or get them to name you in their will. I mean, what's the point ?
     
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